OAKLAND, Calif. - A father of quintuplets set a Guinness World Record Sunday by pushing his babies in five-seat mega-stroller in the Modesto Marathon, while a Sunnyvale mother also found a place in the Guinness record books by completing a 10K run in Morgan Hill while pushing her triplets in their three-seater.
Chad Kempel, 37, of Mountain House clocked a 4:42:49 time in the Modesto Marathon after attempting twice before to set a world record in the Oakland Marathon and the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach over the last eight weeks. Guinness set the cut-off time for crossing the finish line at 4:45:00.
“I just kept saying " ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ I’m so excited,” said Kempel, who along with his wife Amy welcomed Lincoln, Noelle, Grayson, Preston and Gabriella into their family just over a year ago.
Kempel set the record Sunday, just one week after underwhelming Guinness when he missed their cut-off time in last weeks’ Oakland Marathon by about five minutes.
“I wanted to (set the record) because I want the kids to have the mindset that if you keep trying, anything is possible,” said Kempel, adding that Sunday’s run was a bit easier than the Oakland race before the course is almost completely flat.
Like he did in Oakland, Kempel’s brother, Steven, rode a bicycle alongside him in case the babies needed a bottle or a diaper change. Neither was needed during the 26.2 mile-course, Kempel said.
KTVU first told the story of the quintuplets in late 2017 while Kempel’s wife, Amy Kempel was in the hospital on bedrest about 25 weeks into her pregnancy. Not long after, the babies were born on Jan. 11, 2018 by cesarean section. They were 13 weeks premature and each weighed under 3 pounds.
The babies spent 73 days in the neo natal intensive care unit, battling a variety of health issues and struggling to gain enough weight and enough strength to go home. They are all thriving now.
Throughout Kempel's record-setting race challenges in the men’s “fastest marathon pushing a quintuple pram (stroller)” category, the father said he relied on memories of his babies’ many challenges after their premature births.
"As I broke through the proverbial mile 20 'wall' for a third time in two months, I knew how difficult the final 6.2 miles was going to get,'' he said. "I thought about the babies fighting for their lives in the neonatal intensive care unit and how I want all our kids to always believe that anything is possible. So, i had to proive it and we got our record"
Meanwhile, Ann Marie Cody, a Sunnyvale mother of triplets, set her own Guinness World Record Sunday by pushing the three kids in their stroller during the 10K Wildflower Run in Morgan Hill in 47:10.
Cody, 37, already holds the world record for running with her triplets in the Modesto Marathon last year in a time of 4:06:33.
“I exceeded my own expectations, '' she said of Sunday's race. "The conditions were perfect, the roads were smooth."
Her triples are now 2 years old, and although Cody is a seasoned runner, pushing about 140 pounds of kid and stroller can be quite a feat, she said. “It’s increasingly challenging, but I like challenges,’’ Cody said. “I tell people I’m basically pushing my own weight.”